Once upon a time, there was a very wealthy man. The man had so much money that he bought anything and everything he could buy, and still had more money than he could count. As he grew older and wiser, he realized he was very unhappy. So he gathered all of his friends and confidants and asked them for their advice.
During the course of the conversation, a friend mentioned that there was a University close by filled with struggling students. The man decided he would give money to any student that wanted some.
The next day, the man walked to the main section of the University campus and arranged to rent out a small room in the center of the main campus student building, where all the students could come to get their money from him. He then sat down on a chair in the small room and waited.
For months, he would visit the campus every day and wait in the small room for students to come and claim their money. But no one ever came. Eventually, he became a fixture on campus. Students would smile and wave at him as they passed by the small room; some would say hello and ask how he was. But no one ever asked for money.
One day, while he sat in the small room, the man was approached by a student who had always been very friendly to the man. She stopped by every day and said hello and told him about her classes. She was always bright and cheerful. On this day, however, her eyes were puffy and red, and she walked as though the weight of the world was on her shoulders.
“Sir, I just wanted to come by and say goodbye…”
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“Well, my mom’s been really sick – and she’s better now, but my family has a ton of hospital bills and I just can’t afford to stay here at school any longer.”
“Why didn’t you say something before? I’ve been sitting here every day for months just waiting for someone to ask me for money, and no one ever has! Why didn’t you ask me before?” the man asked.
The girl looked up, her eyes glimmering with hope.
“Why didn’t you say something? How was I to know you were giving money away unless you said something? I would never have guess that’s why you sit here every day. But… can I have some money?”
The man smiled and pulled his checkbook from his pocket. “How much do you need?”
The next day, when the man arrived at the University, there was line of needy students outside the small room. The line reached out the doors of the building and wrapped all around campus.
The man asked every student why they had never come to him before, even though they needed money. “Because you didn’t tell me that’s why you were here,” they said.